Top executives from a handful of the hottest media internet companies around met at the Global Convergence Summit in New York Wednesday to discuss the future of advertising on the internet. The panel, which included Kevin Ryan, CEO of DoubleClick, Mark Greenburg, VP of Showtime Networks, Thomas Jermoluk, CEO of Excite@Home, Chris Tice, VP of […]
Top executives from a handful of the hottest media internet companies around met at the Global Convergence Summit in New York Wednesday to discuss the future of advertising on the internet. The panel, which included Kevin Ryan, CEO of DoubleClick, Mark Greenburg, VP of Showtime Networks, Thomas Jermoluk, CEO of Excite@Home, Chris Tice, VP of marketing at Sony Online Entertainment and Chris Kitze, CEO of Xoom.com agreed that monologue branding in the traditional television format, where the viewer is a passive receiver of information whether interested in it or not, will soon be over. In the converged world of the future promoted by the panel, where a consumer’s television, telephone and PC all operate on one network, advertising will be more of a dialogue between the advertiser and the consumer. Those watching Monday night football on the TV could simultaneously boot-up a web site on the users PC of the two teams, with statistics and tickets on sale for the next game, followed by an commercial break back on the TV for Nike trainers, say.
Mark Greenburg added that too much attention was being given to the threats of advertising on the web, especially by traditional content players, who have to learn to play in all channels to get the most out of the internet, he said. While Showtime Networks has a TV add airing, our click-throughs skyrocket, he added. When the series finishes, the network extends the show to the web, adding new story lines and characters, thereby maintaining viewership even when the show isn’t airing. Using the web, it is also possible to pick up entirely new audiences for a product that you wouldn’t have believed possible, said Greenburg. A weekly $5 magazine subscription that normally attracts upper income customers, pulls in a completely different set of readers to the web site, which is free, he said.
The panel agreed that one of the biggest misconceptions of people using the internet is that they are online at home. According to DoubleClick analysis, 80% of page-views are generated from people at work. The second misconception is that people on the web have little or no brand loyalty. Again, DoubleClick reports that web users have a higher loyalty than the average high street shopper. For example, a user of Amazon.com is much less likely to switch to Barnes & Noble than the person walking down the high street, in and out of several bookshops. There is far less surfing going on than we imagine, said Ryan, consumers are bookmarking favorite sites and sticking with them.
When the discussion turned to how to advertise on the web and the differences between how the older and younger generations view the medium, DoubleClick and Sony have different ideas. Kevin Ryan, whose company DoubleClick monitors the traffic to and from six to seven million ads on the web everyday said: The over- stimulated generation Y group, or today’s 15-20 year olds, are no different in terms of how they view advertising on the web or how they treat the web to any other generation it is uncharted territory for everyone. Chris Tice of Sony Online Entertainment disagreed: Kids growing up on the internet need to be spoken to differently by marketers, they view the internet and the content on the internet like the telephone, she said. The average teenager today has seen more than 16 million ads and they are far more cynical and impatient than previous generations.
The debate concluded on the issue of user privacy, as it would seem that in this converged world, every single detail about a person’s behavior and habits will be stored on a giant database enabling corporations to target consumers more effectively but also to bombard them non-stop, twenty-four hours a day. The panel agreed that if consumers lose confidence now, it would hurt the medium, so they are treading very carefully. There have been no gross privacy violations yet, said Ryan. He said that for all the hype around credit card fraud on the internet, actual cases of it happening barely register on the scale, which is what we are seeing with the privacy issue right now.